updated on 26 Jun 2001 (best view with netscape communicator 4.77)

of devastating earthquates were systematically dismantled and the stones suitable for re-building were removed. But we were not the run-of-the-mill tourists. There was no need to look for extensive ruins. More important to us was the need to have a holistic picture of each church and the city in which it was located. Often there are residual features of the ancient cities which can be discerned from the modern ones. Space does not permit mention of the wealth of Sardis, especially gold that was panned from the Pactolus River. Thyatira has a basilica structure and a colonnaded Roman road. Philadelphia has three solid, large pillars which held up a fairly large, domed church. And sections of the ancient aqueduct and clogged clay pipes of Laodicea are still exposed. I end this travelogue with the hope that it has heightened both your understanding of the Scriptures as well as your desire to join our Bible Lands Study Tour in May-June, 2002 (QSH).

Welcome home...
Join us as we welcome Mrs Peck back from her sabbatical. She had a rewarding time away and is glad to be back home again. 

Courses starting 
this week!
Monday, 8-10 pm 
NT Foundations I 
(NT 101, 3 credits) 
by Dr Quek Swee Hwa.

Tuesday, 7.30-9.30 pm
OT Foundations II 
(OT 102, 3 credits)
by Dr Philip Satterthwaite

Thursday, 7.30-9.30 pm
Interpreting Samuel I 
(OT 356, 1.5 credits)
by Dr Philip Satterthwaite

Saturday, 3-5 pm
Old Testament Foundations I
(OT 101, 3 credits)
by Dr Philip Satterthwaite

[ cont
Many foreign dignitaries have trudged the marbled streets of Ephesus and admired the magnificent ruins that once were palatial palaces and towering temples dedicated not only to the worship of the Greek gods, but also to the Roman emperors. As we stood before the ornate, sumptuous façade of the Celsus Library dedicated to the Roman Senator Julius Celsus Ptolemaeanus in the first quarter of the 2nd Century AD and the site of modern concerts held during the annual arts festival today, I reminded the trippers that originally four statues stood in the niches fronting the entrance. These stood for four virtues: wisdom (sophia), character (arete), discernment (ennoia), and understanding (episteme). They are reminders of something very apt even for todayís bibliophiles (book-lovers). Directly opposite the Library is a brothel. Like any major city, then and now, Ephesus stood for both virtues and vices. We proceeded to the majestic theatre with a seating capacity of 25,000 persons. From that place during Paulís time the hysterical cry, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians" went on non-stop for two hours, leading almost to the lynching of Paulís co-workers: we were given a grim reminder of the dangers faced by Paul and his co-workers in their missionary travels. Ephesus was the first church to receive the Letters addressed to the Seven Churches of Revelation 2 & 3. It lay on the ancient courierís route in the fertile Lycus Valley. The Christians there and we ourselves were reminded that sometimes busyness in church work may lead to neglecting our relationship to Jesus Christ: we need to recover the priority of loving Jesus above all else.

Smyrna (Izmir) is a truly beautiful city. Our hotel was situated in a place where hotsprings abound. In [ cont

the comfort of our hotel rooms we could choose between thermal or regular water. From the mountain we descended to the bay area which gives Izmir its special character. In the evening the twinkling lights of houses crowding the slopes, topped by the remains of city walls and impressive towers throw light on the reference to "the crown of life" (Rev. 2:10) in the Letter to Smyrna. 

Pergamum (Bergama) is a truly impressive place. In the lower city we visited the unique, huge basilica church built over two underground rivers (what an engineering feat!) Formerly it was a Temple to the Egyptian god of healing, Serapis. The upper city was equally grand, with its breath-taking views of the surrounding region. The famous Library (which Anthony gave to Cleopatra) where parchment was invented, the Temple to the Emperor Trajan, and the deepest three-tiered amphitheatre in the ancient world were worth visiting. But standing mutely on one of the slope was a platform described in Rev. 2:13 as "Satanís throne". The elaborate three-dimensional frieze of this Altar to Zeus, the head of the Greek gods, depicted the great battle between the gods and the giants. This beautifully sculptured frieze occupies pride of place at a museum today in Berlin, the Pergamum Museum. Despite their faithfulness in time of persecution, the Christians at Pergamum were castigated for their failure to keep pure their faith and their lives in the face of heresy and moral decline.

Praise God we were able to visit the rest of the Seven Churches. We were unfazed by the oft-repeated remarks, "There is nothing to see of ancient Thyatira, Philadelphia and Laodicea." True, modern buildings lie on top of ancient sites. Structures remaining intact after a succession

[ cont

Page 2                                                                                        _____           18 - 24  June 2001
NEWSBITS (cont'd)

Starting Next Week...
4 July, Wednesday, 7-9 pm
Biblical Hebrew - Basic Research Tools (BH214, 1.5 credits), by Mrs S. M. Peck

5 July, Thursday, 7-10 pm
To All People Everywhere: Biblical Theology of Mission (ME 103, 3 credits), by Mr Walter Edman

Further Information
Information about the new courses has been emailed to those on record but if you havenít received it and would like it faxed 
or sent to you please contact the office at 3538071.

A note from the library 
Recently a lot of video tapes have been getting stuck in the players. To minimize wear and tear of the video players, library users are reminded to: 

  • make use of the video rewinder available at the AV and Loan Counter area; 
  • let the video player perform one function at a time allowing it to end before activating the next function. (e.g. do not press stop and eject at the same time.) 

  • Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

    Chapel last week was taken by Dr Quek, who delighted those who attended with a virtual tour of Greece and Turkey, using digital camera slides taken during the recent Bible Lands tour. BGSTís book and artefact collections has also been enriched with additions, the latest available from these two countries.

    Chapel this week will be a BRIEF sharing by Mrs Peck. She will take Chapel again on 18th July when she is more ready to share about her sojourn as a student in Jerusalem.


    [ cont ]

    Thinking Points

    Letís not beat about the bush 
    with Moses

        Moses killed an Egyptian man for beating a Hebrew. "When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian." Pharaoh must have been really mad at Moses to want to kill him himself, instead of ordering others to kill Moses. And Moses had to flee from his presence, probably with just the clothes on his back. I wonder: Did he have to fight his way out of Pharaohís court?
        But where is Midian? Looking into a Bible atlas, will we not find out how scared Moses was? He had put the Red Sea, the Sinai Peninsula and the Gulf of Aqaba between him and Pharaoh before he felt safe enough to stop fleeing. And in case Pharaoh should suddenly appear, he had a whole mountain range behind him to lose himself in, and on the other side of it, the huge Arabian Desert to run into. 
        It was to the foothills of Mount Horeb that Moses brought his father-in-lawís sheep for grazing, and saw the burning bush. "I will turn aside and see this marvellous sight, why the bush is not burned up" (Exodus 3:3, New American Standard Bible) Moses said. The burning bush was not in his path, but was to one side? And he had to go out of his way to see it?
        "Why is the bush not burned up"? Does that imply that Moses had been watching it for some time, so as to notice it was not burned up, yet continued to burn? The Bible does not say that there had been lightning, so it was doubly strange that the bush had caught fire. And since we are not told that there were people near the bush who could have set it on fire, wasnít it triple-ly strange? How Mosesí curiosity must have caught fire!
        How did Moses the fugitive feel when a voice called him, "Moses! Moses!"? Since no one was around,                   [ cont ]

    he gave the standard answer to Godís call. "Here I am!"
        Then God told Moses to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Hey, wasnít Moses the one who killed an Egyptian for striking an Israelite? Didnít he want to free his people from cruel slavery? So did he yell, "Yippee!"? Or did he say, "Who am I that I should go to PharaohÖ.."? What a laugh! Wasnít Moses a prince of Egypt, a nephew of Pharaoh brought up in Pharaohís court where position and status were everything? Was he now saying that he had no position or status, and was a nobody who could not stand before Pharaoh? Or was there a deeper meaning behind his words? Who was he? The son of Hebrews yet not brought up as a Hebrew? The son of an Egyptian princess, yet not an Egyptian?
        Or did his words also mask a fear of being killed by Pharaoh if he returned? How do you cure Moses of such a great fear? God did it by turning his staff into a poisonous snake. So what did Moses do? "Moses fled from it" (Exodus 4:3, KJV, NASB, Amplified). See the connection? Moses fled from Pharaoh; now Moses fled from a snake. God then asked Moses to take the snake by the tail. Hmmm, would you grab a big poisonous snake by the tail, knowing it can quickly turn around and bite you? How much courage did Moses have to muster before he finally grabbed the snakeís tail? To touch the snake, didnít Moses first have to overcome his fear of dying? 
        Or did Moses only overcome his fear of snakes? Letís see. At the end of Mosesí meeting with God, what did God say? Wasnít it: "But take THIS staff in your hand so that you can perform miraculous signs with it"? Think about the word "this". Was the staff with or near Moses, or was it with or near God? Why did Moses leave behind his staff, if not because he still feared the snake that his staff could change into?
        Moses had a great fear and God helped him overcome it. Is there any fear in you that God is unable to help you overcome?

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